Story by Quenterious Mabone / Contributing Writer
The Blue Raiders lost 6-2 in their matchup with Southern Mississippi on Saturday, receiving their first loss in conference play this season.
Middle Tennessee (13-15, 1-1 CUSA) struggled to get on the scoreboard, as they left nine runners on base during their offensive possessions.
Head coach Jeff Breeden didn’t see any new patterns from Southern Mississippi starting pitcher Morgan Leinstock.
“(Leinstock) didn’t really do anything much different than she did yesterday,” coach Breeden said. “We got ourselves down by six runs. Everybody knows we’re down big. We were able to get runners into scoring position in those first two innings and we could’ve had a couple hits to get back in the game and we didn’t do that.”
A pair of three-run innings to open the game for Southern Mississippi put the Blue Raiders into a deficit they couldn’t recover from. Freshman starting pitcher Claire Woods competed in just one and a half innings. She surrendered five earned runs on six hits allowed.
Taking her place was freshman reliever Keri Munn, who gave up a two-run home run to the first batter she faced, making the deficit turn into a six-run game.
Following the home run, Munn went through six Southern Mississippi hitters before giving up another hit. She tossed in five innings out of the bullpen, giving up one earned run on four hits with two strikeouts. Through her first nine appearances this season, she has a 2.95 ERA with 22 strikeouts to 16 walks.
The Blue Raiders finally got themselves on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning when designated freshman Anyce Harvey hit her first career home run, which was a line drive that snuck just over the wall and under the bottom of the scoreboard in left-center field.
Freshman Laura Mealer drove in the second and final Blue Raider run of the game on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the seventh. She picked up her second RBI of the weekend.
Junior Kelci Hill led the Blue Raiders individually at the plate, going 2-for-4 at the dish. Her season numbers have risen, as she’s hitting .258 with three doubles and four RBIs.
The season matchup between Middle Tennessee and Southern Mississippi is now split at one game apiece. The Blue Raiders will look to bounce back and win the season series matchup on Sunday at 12 p.m. Central time.